OSHA says its inspection, conducted in response to workers’ complaints, found that employees were being exposed to high levels of mercury during the demolition and Manafort was not taking steps to reduce those exposures to below permissible levels. In addition, OSHA says the company did not evaluate the respirator program’s effectiveness in protecting workers against exposures and did not consult with the employees to identify and correct any respirator problems.
“These hazards were certainly preventable,” Rosemarie O. Cole, OSHA’s New Hampshire area director, says. “High mercury exposure can result in permanent nervous system and kidney damage. It is critically important that employers remain vigilant and ensure that effective safeguards are in place to prevent and minimize workers’ exposures.”
OSHA cited the company for two willful and six serious violations concerning mercury, respirators, protective clothing and sanitary conditions.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.